Tour de Mount Vernon bike ride brings out record crowds
Ideal fall weather conditions prevailed Oct. 21 for the 2023 Tour de Mount Vernon bike ride, which started and ended at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and allowed cyclists to ride on the temporarily shut down southern George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Around 550 cyclists signed up for the eighth annual event, according to Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck’s office — the largest turnout to date. At the start of the ride, cyclists were lined up around at least half of the traffic circle in front of the Mount Vernon estate.
Event partners like Handy Bikes and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services, which helped run the family ride, were onsite to help participants. Members of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling served as marshals, helping keep people safe during the ride, with FABB vice president Jeff Gauger riding sweep.
First responders from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue’s Woodlawn station and the Mount Vernon District Station of the Fairfax County Police Department also had a presence, with officers blocking major intersections off the Parkway from 6 to 9:30 a.m.
“This is going to be a fun event,” said Mount Vernon District Police Station Commander Capt. Marc Mitchell, “but even more so, it’s going to be a safe event.”
Other speakers kicking off the ride included Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay who promised to “continue to invest in multimodal transportation solutions” in the county; Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier who gave a shout out to the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail for their help maintaining the trail; and Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Col. Joseph Messina who said he was glad the installation could open its gates to riders.
Storck, who urged cyclists to enjoy the multiple tourist attractions of “Potomac Banks” along the ride route, later said his favorite part of the circuit was enjoying the gorgeous views along the Parkway and crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Next year’s race will be on Oct. 19, he said, noting that they alternate each year between northern and southern routes.
“If the voters are good to me, I’ll be back, and it will be at the Workhouse Arts Center,” said Storck.
Following the ride, participants gathered on the grounds of Mount Vernon for refreshments and entertainment. Volunteer ride marshal Wilson Almendarez said he did the shorter 24-mile ride and enjoyed it regardless of “lots of bumps” along the Parkway. Another cyclist also described the ride as bumpy but easier to navigate than the bike path.
“Anytime you can ride on a big road, it’s more fun,” he said.